A convicted IRA prisoner turned international property developer has been accused in the Italian courts of using the Italian Mafia to launder money.
The Irish Independent reports that Henry Fitzsimons, 63, a Northern Irish property dealer and director of Irish company VFI Overseas Properties Ltd, was accused by an Italian magistrate last week of using the company to launder IRA money through a vacation complex in southern Italy run by the mafia. Fitzsimons has denied the allegations.
A magistrate in Calabria identified Henry James Fitzsimons and the company, after police moved against an alleged money-laundering scheme, seizing property worth €450m and making a series of arrests. According to reports from Italy, a European arrest warrant was issued for Fitzsimons, which detailed allegations of money laundering for the IRA.
Fitzsimons was reported to be hiding in Africa after his name was linked to the investigation but later emerged to deny any involvement through his lawyer, according to the Irish Independent.
His lawyer has said that his client, was jailed for 12 years for his part in a series of bombings during the height of The Troubles, had not been involved in the IRA since his release from prison in 1981. On his release from prison, Fitzsimons ran a night club and a taxi company before going into the property trade.